Eager to re-try The Palm, Orlando's outpost of the New York-based steakhouse, without spending too much, I met a friend for happy hour last night. A savvy bartender greeted me in the snug bar area, where PrimeTime Prime Bites are served at half price from 5 to 7 nightly. The highlight: lobster sliders at the Palm bar.
For $6.50, we received three fresh-tasting sandwiches of Nova Scotia lobster salad with baby arugula and pickles on an inoffensive bun, plus crunchy, salty waffle fry chips. The bun was so thick and uninteresting that I pulled off the top and kept the bottom only to be polite. I should have lifted off the scrumptious lobster salad with a fork. The dish costs $13 at other times.
I was less impressed with the other Prime Bites. The fried cornmeal-dusted calamari with marinated peppers were fine, as were the Prime SteakBurger sliders with cheddar pickle, and pesto mayonnaise. I expect more from a restaurant as high-end as this renowned steakhouse, tucked into the Hard Rock Hotel Universal Orlando. After all, humble independents like Oblivion Taproom and The Crooked Spoon have ridiculously delicious hamburgers. I think The Palm should step up its hamburger game.
The calamari and burgers, too, were $6.50 instead of $13.
Perhaps I would have been less disappointed if wine were discounted also. Instead, wines by the glass are all full price. Worse yet, the least expensive choices are $10 for a six-ounce pour'; most are $12 and up. That's not much of a happy hour special.
The Palm also offers lobster tempura with sweet chili aioli and ginger, and a basket of cottage fry "chips," as happy hour options.
On a good note, the bar does validate self-parking so it's free.